C&C session report for 9/21/2010

This session saw the return of Crassius, the cleric (who had an apparently mute young girl he dubbed “Silent” in tow), but Trogar the dwarf was nowhere to found. The party fears he stole into Crossroads to rescue Dagodart when the gates closed behind him, but Dagodart escaped on his own and never saw the dwarf.

Suitably resupplied with torches, the party planned to make a mad dash across the plains on Gleep Wurp’s lands to the Pit of Kazum, an old dwarven mining city which has been taken over by the goblin king’s forces and is now a slave pit. At the beginning of the journey the party saw a line of 20 or so gas spores advancing in a line towards Crossroads. The party’s archers dismounted and managed to pick them all off before any got close enough to cause damage, although the long-range shooting depleted a lot of the party’s arrows.

The party now road at a breakneck pace, not even stopping to eat lunch (which almost certainly would not have been an option had the dwarf been present!). Towards the afternoon, a pair of wyverns* were visible overhead, out of range but clearly following the party. They sought a defensive position to stop for the night, and were lucky to find a small stream with a thin line of trees growing on both banks. It was here they camped. On the second watch, fires began to break out among the tree tops and it became clear that the wyverns had riders who were dropping fire pots.

The party moved their encampment and after some confusion as whether they would flee the area or stay in the cover of the woods, they moved to the other side of the stream and set a new campfire as a decoy. The wyvern riders dropped more firepots, and once the tree fires burned out, one landed to investigate. The party seized this opportunity to ambush the wyvern, and slew the rider although the wounded wyvern fled. The other wyvern rider also fled after a light spell was cast upon him, spoiling his night vision.

The party proceeded toward he Pit of Kazum, and met a half-eaten dwarf, who had escaped the “pit of death” with a terrible tale of lizardmen and troglyodytes who now rule the Pit of Kazum and seek human flesh for food. The party healed him as much as possible and he drew detailed maps, and estimated the numbers if inhabitants at 100 lizard men, 30 troglodytes, and 40 dwarf slaves. He also told them that a war party had been dispatched to gather human livestock.  Ominously, he also described a pair of dwarven assassins who had been dispatched from the Pit with orders he did not know. The party considered their options.

  • Seize on the somewhat depleted numbers of lizardfolk while the war party is away and raid the Pit?
  • Pursue and destroy the war parties in detail before assaulting the pit?
  • Play lizardman and goblin against one another?

The only thing they could agree on for the time being was that they should wait to see if Trogar could catch up with them before entering the Pit.

*Do you pronounce “wyvern” as “WHY-VERN” (long i) or “Wi-VERN” (short i)? I always said it with a long i. But I read a lot and end up with all kinds of idiosyncratic pronunciations, especially when it comes to D&D terms since I learned them while very young and among peers with no idea how to pronounce “druid,**” “scythe,***” etc. I ask because our newer player John pronounced it with a short i, and I tried to follow suit, but by the end of the session we were all saying “WHY-VERN” and we never explicitly discussed it. Anyway I am always intrigued by the different pronunciations that grow up in different gaming groups, although that was more a phenomena of younger players, I think.

**My brother always says it “DROOD” no matter how often I say it “DRU-ID.”

***SKYTH, SKiTH, SYTH, SiTH? I hear it all those ways but I think SYTH (long i) is more correct. Even so I pronounce “Scythian” as “Skithian,” but by analogy it should probably be Sithian, right?

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Published in: on September 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm  Comments (4)  
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C&C session report: September 16, 2010

Sometimes the dicegods shit all over you.

It wasn’t quite that bad last night, but there were tons of problems outside the game. On my drive home it was raining torrentially, making me take an extra 45 minutes to get home, so the DM & one player were waiting in my driveway. Another player couldn’t make it*, as we changed the game night at the last minute due to the DM’s work load. When we were finally ready to begin, I got a call from my wife asking me to pick up my daughter from the babysitter’s. It didn’t register to me that they weren’t home when I got there, as she often takes Riley to a playdate or something on D&D night! And I had just picked up a piece of pizza…

So we didn’t really start playing until 8 PM, and being short our cleric we decided to recruit another NPC meatshield, and then had to decide whether or not to allow an NPC Lawful Evil assassin to join the party. (It sounds pretty stupid but we did. Hey, we needed a thief! Also, we had information that he was honorable and, the paladin thought, redeemable.)

We had decided last session to bring the fight to one of the (many) big baddies in the campaign, the Goblin King. But to get there we needed to cross a large prarie held by Gleep Wurp, the beholder/mage we’d tangled with before.

Highlights:

  • A wandering hill giant tried to carry off one of the party’s horses (we are now up to 10 characters, even though there are only four players, and we have quite the managerie: 19 light and one heavy warhorse, a pack mule, and a wagon drawn by two more mules)
  • the next day on the prairie we were attacked by wave after wave of Gas Spores. These bastards were also rigged to spy for Gleep Wurp, which would lead to trouble. I think this is the first time I ever fought Gas Spores, but I knew they couldn’t be beholders as two appeared the first time.

  • deciding that the wagon was slowing us down too much, and an NPC’s concern about the amount of poison known to be used by the guards of the dwarven mine we plan to use to sneak into the Goblin King’s castle, made us decide to turn back
  • our way was blocked by 20 heavily armed and armored hobgoblins led by a witch. We rode around them rather than fight
  • My illusionist had to sneak into the town (under guard by more hobgoblins, alerted by Gleep Wurp) to get antivenom and torches (we need a piquet of torches to see the gas posres, which seem to infest the prairie and are active both night and day
  • We finally ditch the wagon and head out with the torches on horseback, determined to outrun any pursuers

That was about five or six Gas Spore encounters, a Hill Giant, and two more hobgoblin encounters, all finished in two hours with plenty of time to roleplay recruitment of NPCs and debate torching the whole damn the prairie, which was tall and dry in the late summer (our druid wouldn’t have it). I’m glad we are playing something rules light! I doubt we’d get through a couple encounters in two hours in later editions of D&D….

<I will try to stage & post some pictures later, but may not have time since we’re camping this weekend!>

*No doubt the source of all the bad karma! I rather cavalierly insisted on gaming without him rather than wait until next week!

Published in: on September 17, 2010 at 1:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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C&C session report for 7/21/2010

Our last session had another character death, but this time only an NPC. Also, we were happy to find we had recovered sufficient funds to raise Sir Drendle from the dead.

  • We decided we really needed to rest, with hit points and spells nearly depleted. We examined that map and determined there was shortcut that could get us to a room we’d cleared earlier, which had some wooden furniture. The whole dungeon, or at least the first level, is so cold we risk taking damage if we stand around for too long without a fire going, and would freeze death in our sleep!
  • The shortcut worked out OK (we did have to fight some more ice trolls but we’re getting good at that!). We cut a chimney into the ice roof and built a campfire to rest. Our watches were disturbed by our pixie Sifl, who enjoys playing practical jokes even while we stand on the brink of death!
  • At the end of our rest, we were interrupted by an attack by ice trolls leading another polar bear. The bear killed our reasonably loyal orc Skrag.
  • We resolved to leave the dungeon and try to raise Drendle (we had neither the money nor the consensus to try to raise our poor orc), but in recovering the body we fell into a major ambush, which we survived to limp out of the dungeon.
  • We then set off to the Borderlands where a relatively friendly barbarian tribe with a cleric capable of raising the dead lives, and we also resupplied ourselves with oil for buring trolls, a brand new auger, and so on. Although I couldn’t find extra fuzzy slippers on the C&C equipment list.

(more…)

Published in: on July 24, 2010 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  
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Session summary for 7/13/2010

This session had a bit of a slow start, as the DM was a little disorganized (have you seen my map?), I was completely focused on eating a pair of burritos, and there was still some work to do to finish Richard’s replacement character. However things soon began to pick up as we trudged relentlessly deeper into the icy dungeon.

  • The party accepted Luciano, the rogue, into their ranks and allowed him to take adventuring gear from the backpack of Drendle, as well as the magic dagger Kendra had been carrying. They did not ask, and he did not tell, where he got the lock pick set he produced later in the the session. No one accepted his invitation to smell his lockpicks.
  • Further exploration revealed a network of rooms, some empty, some holding ice trolls. The ice trolls proved to be fairly brittle in combat but their regeneration forced the party to seriously deplete their lantern oil.
  • The first encounter with ice trolls also featured a giant wolverine. Apparently the ice trolls keep giant wolverines as pets.
  • We also found a bottle containing another ice mephit, which we released accidentally. It summoned another mephit, but we managed to defeat them.

OK, that’s a steam mehpit, but it’s all I found in Google.  BTW, “Mephit” must be derived from “mephitic” which means foul-smelling or noxious. “Mephitic” comes from Mephistis, an Etruscan goddess of fertility the Romans demoted to a swamp goddess after they conquered Etruria. If you get the “A Word A Day” emails from here you knew that.

  • Sifl, our unreliable pixie, left the lantern in the middle of a room during a fight, and a troll immediately smashed the lantern, which was serious problem for our mostly human party.
  • A group of ice trolls was found slowly digging through the floor of one room in an effort to go to the next level down. The party defeated them quickly and finished the hole, finding a room littered with more “blue vikings with eyepatches” corpses next to another room holding 18 hobgoblins. The party decided not to enter the second level as there was much to explore still on the first level and they did not know where to look for the chalice.
  • Kendra managed to charm and befriend two giant wolverines, which should keep her safe in future combats.
  • At the end of the session, we realized Theoden should not have been with the party but watching the horses and Cha-Ka. Doh! Either we left the horses unattended or I scratch off a Minor Illusion spell (he never did say anything) or “Theoden” is a doppelganger or other creature in disguise….
  • Tom, the DM, admitted to using a dungeon he’d randomly generated online and in hindsight he was a little annoyed with the scale of the rooms and the surfeit of empty rooms. We still had a blast exploring it though.
Published in: on July 18, 2010 at 10:10 am  Comments (1)  
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C&C campaign session report–with pictures

Wednesday was the first session with a new player, John, who I haven’t gamed with in about 15 years!  He wanted to play a cleric so he took over the role of the NPC Crassus.

Our DM, by fiat, set us up in media res, since it had been several months since we last played, sending us this narrative before the game:

Days of evading the Goblin King’s pursuit through the woods and the badlands wore on our brave heroes.  Only now, on the heights of the Dagger Edge Mountains were the howls of Worg riders too far off to hear.  How much time had passed since they left Riverbend?  None could answer, but what was clear was that the Goblins King was not  playing at pursuit.  Dozens of worg-riders were on their trail.

“We have lost them,” Théoden told Dagodart.  “Nothing can track by scent in these winds.”

Janna nodded in agreement but looked less assured.  How many times did they think they had lost them?  However, the winds were strong.   All the adventurers, save the dwarf and orc, felt naked to the winds.    (This is of course not entirely true.  The cold did bite the dwarf and orc but they toughed it out.  Only Sifl was unaffected by the cold.  He was, at this very moment, invisible, naked, and making snow nymphs.)

Rummaging through the supplies, Trogar announced, “My cheese wheel is depleted!  Three days tops and then there will not be enough food to get back down the mountain.”

In the growing dark, Crassus kneeled in a flat area of the snow.  Brushing the snow aside, he peered at a sheet of ice.   The paladin now beside him drew his magic dagger and peered though the ice.  In its light, the lifeless, blue, bloated faces of the goblins stared up at them.

“Hollow faces from Hades, but something else is down there… something evil,” the paladin muttered

This is the way!” Crassus shouted.  “Through the ice there is a cave.  The Creator barred the way of this evil ”

Skrag hammered down the point of his sword several times.  Twisting and turning, a pixie deep hole was formed.  Water flowed through the ice, filling the hole.  “Not thick”  Skrag remarked, looking to Darodart for guidance.

“I can protect us from the cold water but someone will have to stay with the horses,”   said Janna. “Not me!” (cutting off Théoden before he could speak) “You will need my magic to get back out!”

Licking his lips Skrag staid, “I ea..Stay with horses master. “


The current line up: Skrag (NPC), Crassus (John), Trogar (Chad), Drendle (Richard), Dagodart (Me), Janna (NPC), Theoden (NPC), and Sifl (NPC).  Skrag has a new figure and apparently I’ve been calling Janna “Kara.”  Whatever.  She’s only an NPC.

Our stalwart adventurers considered their options as they gazed at the frozen pond.  Theoden was selected to take charge of the horses while the party explored the pond, and suddenly the party was ambushed by a pair of yetis.  All but Drendle and Kendra were paralyzed with fear by the yetis’ gaze.

Not pictured: the horses and Drendle’s riding ox.

  • Drendle fell one yeti by himself and then the whole party defeated the second, but Theoden was badly crushed and nearly killed.
  • After reviving Theoden, the party realized the first yeti was gone.  They tracked him back to the lair, a large cave in the ice.
  • After much discussion, the party settled on a cunning plan that could not fail — they marched into the cave like they owned the place.
  • Mama yeti ambushed the party and was poised to hug the stuffing out of Dagodart, but Crassus saved him with a Sanctuary spell while the rest of the party slew the yeti.

  • The party then found, and quickly dispatched the wounded yeti, and then found an infant yeti which they decided to try to tame.
  • A search of the cave revealed several human bodies, which rather mysteriously all had eye patches covering a strange ice-like eye.  They were also blue, either from being frozen or perhaps this was their natural pigmentation.
  • Theoden stayed in the cave with the horses and yeti cub, who I suggest we will call Cha-Ka.

  • The party then set out to the pond, and the clericand druid cast spells to protect us all from the cold.  Drendle, diving in first, was attacked by a polar bear, which would kill him while the party struggled to save him.
  • The party decided to press on, entering a room accessible from the pond, and exploring further from there.
  • The party found and killed an Ice Mephit and then rescued an imprisoned rogue (Richard’s replacement character).

The new rogue, who hasn’t told us his name yet,  putting the “swish” in swashbuckler.

The PC death early on threw us for a bit of a loop.  We all agreed it was a good introduction to our game’s “nasty, brutish & short” tone.  Richard was a great sport about having his second character die (earlier his elf rogue died).  Although replacements only get 1/2 the player’s XP, his new rogue is actually a higher level than his paladin was!

Published in: on July 11, 2010 at 10:33 am  Comments (6)  
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Local ogre murdered in home invasion

Excerpted from the Kobold Weekly Times-Herald

Local ogre murdered in home invasion

(Outside Riverbend)
Hugh G. Ars, the popular local gardener known as the Blind Ogre, was reportedly murdered last evening by a band of robbers who forced their way into his home.  Several of his kobold assistants were found this morning, cowering and gibbering about several man-creatures who murdered the local ogre and many of his roommates, including his trained giant scorpions, two razorbacks, and an unknown number of kobolds. 

Robbery is suspected to be the motive

Many items of value were said to be missing from the ogre’s dungeon, including a glowing dagger he used to light his hot tub and piles and piles of gold. “Poor Hugh, couldn’t even see but he jammed that dagger in the rocks so his guests wouldn’t have to fumble about in the hot tub,” said Skiklcur, an area kobold.  “I know he generally ate his guests after their baths, but how many ogres are that hospitable?”  Many locals were visibly shaken to hear that the ogre was dead.  “It makes you think, don’t it?  If an ogre ain’t safe in his own home, what’ll become of us?” mused Svengy, an area goblin.

“They boined me bridge,” says area troll

Snotgurgle, a troll residing nearby, claims the same miscreants committed arson on his property shortly before the murder. “They was sneakin’ about me roof, and woke me up.  I thought it was just the local kobolds droppin’ off some trash in the river, but it was two elves, and a man and a dwarf, and they had nice pickled wizard I’d a liked to snarf, but they boint me bridge!”  Snotgurgle said he is not sure what he’ll do next.  “Prob’ly go eat some shepherds or sumthin,” he speculated.

“I’ll never forget the smell of the half-fricasseed dwarf”

Another area kobold recalled the adventurers making an earlier home invasion.  “The gang’s dwarf was set on fire, but that only made them leave for a while. Ooh, that smelled delicious.  But one of the scorpions gave a good poke to one of the humans, and they seemed to decide to leave to eat the body or something,” said Groogle, one of the surviving kobolds.  “It was so funny when they all scampered out, hoistin’ themselves up on a rope, that I almost choked on the baby’s foot I was eating.”  Groogle said he realized it was no laughing matter when the gang returned the next day.

“The dungeon just won’t be the same without that Huge Ars”

Several area kobolds have agreed to continue to farm Hugh’s garden and collect any snared animals and man-creatures that may be attracted to it.  “There’s still a hydra to support, the poor bastard.  It’ll be crushed when it realizes the ogre ain’t coming back,” said Groogle.  For now, he says, they are feeding parts of the ogre to the hydra, but several kobolds have already been eaten too and they may have to abandon the dungeon complex entirely.  “What happens if some hobgoblins try to move in?  Hugh could keep out other humanoids, but now we’ll be left to fend for ourselves, and no-one’s hiring mercenary kobolds now,” said Groogle.
“Especially not as bodyguards, after, um, this,” added Skiklcur.
–Ako Bold, staff reporter

This was one of the better session summaries from our C&C campaign, which we’re reviving.  The party had ventured to the Blind Ogre’s Bluff, which was probably an adaptation of a One Page Dungeon although I never “cheated” and checked which.  The party was still first level, so even a blind ogre was a serious challenge!  We did also panic and set a bridge on fire to prevent a troll from following us.  Good times.

Published in: on July 4, 2010 at 1:46 am  Comments (4)  
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The C&C campaign makes its save vs. inertia!

We have added a new player (someone I knew ages ago in college & who turns out to live about a couple of miles from me!), and Tom agreed to dust off his notes and we’re getting the C&C game going again. I’m psyched!

I’ll give some thought to the megadungeon I’ve been dreaming up and perhaps if C&C has a lull again I’ll be ready to spring some Labyrinth Lord on the group…

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 2:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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RPG Session reports

My gaming group pretty much always relies on summaries of each session to help us remember what is going on (we may go a few weeks between sessions — right now it’s more like months!).  I maintain a Yahoo group for the group, so we can discuss when/where to play, what to do about food, etc. before the game, and most importantly the GM posts house rules and the players post session summaries.  The GM gives a little XP bonus for the summaries, and in theory every player could post one but in practice it is usually just one or two who do.  Sometimes one of us will get inspired and write up something particularly funny or entertaining but a lot of them are fairly straightforward.

I’ve even considered posting the summaries on my blog, but I hesitate for several reasons. First, I’m not entirely sure they will be of that much interest to anyone who hasn’t played in the session.  Second, I have gotten the sense that session reports by DMs are considered interesting and worth reading but session reports by players are not (I’m pretty sure this has been explicitly stated at various blogs but I didn’t keep track).

So, what do you think? Are they worth posting?

As I mentioned before, I kept a relatively fun “Saga” of session reports on a GURPS campaign we played a good 10+ years ago.  Our 4th ed. D&D campaign reports are certainly NSFW or at least not family-friendly, with a lot of bad puns and in-jokes that I wouldn’t want to own up to.  But the C&C game I’m playing in now is pretty interesting (I think) and session reports have included an Onion-style newspaper report on the “home invasion” of a local ogre and a slightly retarded but fun filk of a well-known sea shanty, in addition to the more normal recaps and narratives.  Is that kind of stuff worth putting up?

Moreover, do other D&D groups use session reports/recaps?  Do you post them publicly?

Published in: on May 18, 2010 at 1:28 am  Comments (6)  
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No joy on the Lich’s Skull Island

(This pic is a pillow the wife bought.  What genius named their product the Cluster Puff?!?)

Unfortunately it has been a few weeks since we’ve been able to get a game together (maybe a month?) and it will be a couple more, with two players traveling and another studying for a professional exam.  We only have three players and the DM so there is no carrying on shorthanded.   So no joy just now.  We need everyone just to run all the henchmen! Here’s our motley crew:

Left to right, PCs in bold: Theoden (Ranger), Trogar (Dwarf fighter), Sifl (Pixie), Dagodart (Illusionist), Kara (Druid), Drendle (Paladin), Skrag (Orc fighter). (more…)

Published in: on April 7, 2010 at 11:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Good help is hard to find!

Reviewing the Grenadier AD&D range (which got me hooked on miniatures lo these many years ago) I am struck by the fact that there just aren’t many decent hireling miniatures in production now. Greg Gillespie posted some pics of some mostly suitable plastic WotC miniatures but they just don’t hold a candle to the Grenadier stuff. Kenzer & Co. had two sort of whimsical sets — one of a pack ape and pixie lantern bearer; the other a scroll caddy and halfling torchbearer:

(more…)

Published in: on February 26, 2010 at 1:43 am  Comments (3)  
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